‘Yeah, I’m going to be honest with you….. it’s going to be a lot of admin work,’ is what Museums at Night project manager Nick Stockman said when I took on an internship at Culture 24. ‘ But if you want to learn about museums and heritages sites in the UK and what they do, there’s no better place than here.’
To give you a bit of background, I’m a Cultural Heritage student from Amsterdam and my school gave me the opportunity to go abroad for an internship. Museums at Night in Amsterdam has always been a special night for me. I’ve experienced it as a visitor (queuing up at the Rijksmuseum to have a glance at Damian Hirsts’ diamond skull in 2008) and as a volunteer (doing some serious crowd control when the National Ballet performed at the Hermitage Museum Amsterdam in 2009).
But this time I wanted to be more involved with the overall organisation and not in Holland, but in the first country that opened museums to the public.
And so I printed and posted over 500 evaluation forms, updated massive, MASSIVE spreadsheets, tagged 100 events to make them easier to find on the website and learned a lot along the way.
I was amazed by the amount of participating museums. However big or small, they all took the opportunity to do something different with their venue or attract a different audience. I LOVED the idea of the RAF Museum in London to host a Thunderbirds Night, complete with ’60 music and original models from the TV series. And the Doctor Who event at The John Rylands Library! Because who ever said that museums and pop culture don’t go together?
My next job is to enter all the data from the 500 returned evaluation forms into the next massive spreadsheet. So just give me a few weeks and I’ll be able to tell you exactly how successful Museums at Night 2011 was!
Signe Troost is a third year student at the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam and is keen on working with museums that are experiment with innovative ways to engage their audiences. She hopes to be museum director by the time she turns 50….